Saturday, December 28, 2013

Jewelry Discoveries

It seems funny, or maybe I should say natural, that all of the things that I encourage students to do in terms of discovering their artistic processes also work as part of my artistic discoveries. I've been doing jewelry for Christmas gifts and have produced dozens of pairs of earrings, but started looking at and using "sea-glass" or "beach-glass" over the past week or so in some experimental pieces. I feel like these things were successful, and have led to even more discoveries around how I might use the rather large collection of glass that I have.

The photo below is an example of the fact that no two pieces of "beach-glass" are the same, but some are close enough to make a good "pair" of earrings. I liked these pieces because they were similar in size and have segments of raised letters on them, and they most likely came from the same bottle. I made the large jump rings to accommodate the holes I drilled in the glass, and then replaced the silver holding bead with a colored seed bead.

This series of photos partially shows the process I used to make rings for Jen and Lynne using pieces of rounded fused glass "stones" from my glass kiln. Make the bezel, fit the "stone", and then solder the ring and bezel.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Birthday Celebration at Finn's

David's birthday today, so we got reservations at Finn's and went there for a nice celebration dinner. Morgan and Dave  came with Abigail as well and so it was a lovely time. We had some good discussions, stories and a whole lot of fun!

The photos are from the way into the back of the restaurant and a "selfie" that I did with a "holey chip" over my eye.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

All Phone and Nothing But the Phone

Tracks in the snow from going up to get the paper this morning. I walked up somewhat carefully, but it is obvious from the imprints that I "slid" back down to the house, going as far as I could with each bounding slide! The snow was like lubrication on the ice from the storm, what fun! Please notice the 180 degree crossover at the bottom, not an easy task!

Is anyone sick of the ice pictures yet? There must be a million of them out there and it is as it should be! The first of these taken at Bangor Savings Bank and the second in the appealing lot of Home Depot, both in Ellsworth!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas at Morgan and Dave's

Jan and I picked Matt up yesterday and we all went to Deer Isle to have a wonderful Christmas dinner with Dave, Morgan, Abigail, Lynne and David. We exchanged gifts and conversation and enjoyed a most excellent meal with turkey and roast beef and a dessert (tiramisu) that was out of this world.

The photo has been enhanced with one of my iPhone apps to give it the ethereal spiritual feeling that a true Christmas gathering deserves. L. to r. ; Abigail, Jen, Dave and David.

No Interweb, But the Phone Works!

We are still "stuck" in terms of connectivity, but I am going to post a couple of Christmas shots from today via my cellphone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

More Ice

Last night the ice continued to form, but with very little additional accumulation over the night. The apple tree in front of the house down near the water has always been an inspiration to me for it's unique visual qualities, and this ice is yet another way in which I can view it.

Here are three shots just closing in for more detail in each one. I used my Sony HX1 for these and notice a bit more "graininess" in the lower light of an overcast day.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ice Storm Driving

I did not take any pictures while driving home this morning as the roads were covered with ice, there was very little traffic, Jen and I were the only ones adventurous/stupid enough to be out on the road, there were lots of sanding trucks and lots of ice all over the car. I stopped three or four times to break up the ice on the wipers and to clean the ice off the edges of the windshield.

We just went slow and got home in four hours or so, not really finding that there was any difficulty, just paying close attention to the road and looking out for slippery spots, of which there were a few.

I got home and just had to record the ice before it got dark, so I took my DSLR, screwed a 4X close-up filter on the 50mm lens and took some of these pictures. I also brought my fixed lens zoom and got some pictures of the ice on the trees, but from a different perspective. Beautiful stuff!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

More Fun in the Snow

Of course, Jackson refuses to wear mittens or anything on his head, but I am sure he will get over that when he realizes how much more fun he can have in the snow with the proper gear. He was frozen, with his little hands like ice and his head bare, when I took the "family snow shot". If you look closely you can tell he was not happy to have to stay still to have his photo done. We did, however, manage to produce a couple of large-scale snow monsters, one becoming a robot figure and the other a cartoon "little person". The really small snowman with the carrot nose was JAckson's and I think his first. He loved it, especially when he knocked the head off and we had to keep putting it back on the body.

Torrey and I dragged a few things up from the basement to embellish the figures with and had a lot of fun in the process. If they soak up with water during the rain that is coming, and then freeze, they may very well be there all winter!

And then of course, Torrey and I had to go out tonight and photograph the snowmen in the dark. More drama there, you know!

Birthday Party

We had the fortune to be able to celebrate Katie's birthday with the family and as usual, Jackson stole the party! He helped to put the candles in the cheesecake (Katies' favorite), blow them out, and cut and eat the goodies as well. He was so in the middle of things and he has gotten so fast, up on the counter in no time and moving about with complete disregard for his own safety. I had forgotten the adventurous nature of the two-year old. Here are a couple of shots from the birthday party.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snow Curves

These pics are from my snowshoe adventure this afternoon. I went out with a telephoto lens on the camera and found that it was very limiting, but that was the adventure. Some great curves in the snow drifts are what bound these photos together for me, with the light becoming warmer and warmer as the sun went down in the sky. Good day.

The Last Snow Day

... well, of 2013 anyway. It looks like it is going to be a long and snowy winter, considering that we are just past the middle of December. Add to that on the other end of the winter the fact that my brother Vern and I walked across the ice on Flanders Bay (yes, salt water) about six years ago on the first day of spring. Yes, that would be March 21st! So, given the possible length of winter here in Maine, it could be "snow fun", or with a slight linguistic twist, "s'no fun"! I prefer the former as a Maine boy who walked back and forth to school through 3 feet of snow uphill both ways. I will don my snowshoes later today and take a photographic stroll in the snow. Maybe a later post with results, my favorite post on this site has always been one of my earliest ones...

So here is a "selfie" I took when I got in from the snow. Color? Oh, look... a primary triad (with an accent of green) that really seems to make things clean and vibrant!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Forgotten Painter

This article appeared in the Friday, December 13th issue of the Bangor Daily News at the top of the ARTS section.

Sandy "Harry" Balmforth was a classmate of my wife's during her middle level and early high school days. His story and that of his brother and family are somewhat told in the above web article.

I was in Augusta today, so on the way back I stopped at Waterfall Arts and purchased four of Harry's works, but as I looked around at the paintings I was mostly struck by the passion and power of what I saw there. Timidly, I chose four pieces that were works on paper and may have seemed more "traditional" than others in the collection, but for me showed an understanding of materials and the imitation of form both being handled in a loose and very natural way. If Harry had not had all those demons to chase that appeared in some of his darker works, he might have steadied on the bright soul I could see in the works I chose.


Sunday, December 15, 2013


It did in fact snow last night, and our guest arrived early in anticipation. Glad he did. A Bit of snow shoveling was in order, so we did that and David took the bulk of the snow out of the driveway with the snowblower.

These pictures are first, a "straight up" one where I really liked the composition with the snow arcing across the page, and then one that I "tweaked" a bit to show the snow clumps better as they were thrown from the blower. I also added a bit of cooler color to the shot, but I'm still not sure if I like that.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sandy Hook One Year

I've done some "blubbering" today as I read accounts from the parents and friends around that terrible tragedy from a year ago, with it seemingly right in the front of my mind when I think of my own boys and how precious the many years with them have been. Even more so when I think of my young grandson and the short lives of all those young children.

I saw the image that I am posting here, and thoughts instantly came to mind around the innocence and transcendence in the enjoyment of life by the young. If we can continue to find value in who we are and what we do into old age we truly have completed an accomplishment worthy of this life on earth. I was struck by symbols here, metaphor in the absence of the "makers" and the object of an angel as the subject of these simple inventions. There is a spirit around us whose ways I think we will never understand, but it will always help us "feel", be it joy or sorrow!

My nephew and his family visited this weekend. He and his wife and two young girls.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Single Digits & Drawing on the Window While Sitting in Traffic

It was cold this morning, I saw single digits (8ยบ) and so when I had a moment while the traffic was passing, I drew in the frost on the window. I don't know why, it just came through as a happy face!

Monday, December 9, 2013

December Studio

Much to do for the holiday season, and I enjoy making many of the things I give to people. This past week it has been fused glass earrings. Here are shots of my studio work space and the cooled pieces this morning as they came from the kiln.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


These photos, while relatively untouched as photos go, provoke a sense of playfulness for me. While the Dragon, Chicken, and Pig are a fixture on the top surface of my Apple "Mini", I really would have to reach for significance there in terms of constructing some sort of meaning. The pig has been around for a while and I guess (s)he just stuck to me as a symbol of corporate greed (practicality to the more conservative). The Dragon adds a spiritual sense as dragons are one of the more mythical, yet very strong in some cultures, figure/creatures, while the chicken (notice that (s)he is plucked and seemingly expired) expresses the futility of life (as a chicken).

The second photo, for me, was like an aftermath of a hurricane or tornado, except the dichotomy is in the bright colors and even geometric shapes. This is an image I would really like to play with by superimposing some destruction, perhaps showing the "media" ambivalence that develops in many after seeing so much of death and destruction. For me it started during the Viet Nam War, looking at the number of soldiers killed every day in what I remember to be the upper right corner of the front page of the Bangor Daily News. Intense, and I didn't even know it at the time.